As the end of the school year approaches, staff and parents reflect on their first year at Marine Village School (MVS).
“This is the big one...we feel relief,” said MVS Principal Dr. Kimberly Kokx. “We feel so grateful to be past the "I hope we make it" point like we were in July and August of last year. Our enrollment is exploding and we are so thankful for a successful academic, artistic and social year for our students.”
At the start of the 2022-23 school year, MVS had 29 students enrolled, they eventually grew to 36.
“We have 75 on the enrollment list for the 2023-24 school year and are still growing,” said Kokx.
With spring in full swing students and staff are keeping busy.
“Our third and fourth graders just returned from Orchestra Hall where they attended a musical cultural event (orchestra music from around the world). That same week, the whole school went to the Wildlife Science Center where their minds were blown with wolves, bear, owls, snakes, etc...it was cold and rainy and not one kiddo cared, they want to go back next year.”
MVS had a recent visit from the Minnesota Office of Charter Authorizing (MOCHA), their single-purpose authorizer for public charter schools in Minnesota.
“They came for the day and left walking on a cloud,” said Kokx. “I was so happy to share how lovely our space is…I think they did their due diligence in examining every aspect of the governance of the school. I was candid about the highs and lows of starting a charter from scratch, but they continued to encourage and praise us for a job well done.”
Looking back on the first year at MVS, Kokx took a moment to highlightsome special moments.
“All of our kindergarten students are readers! First and second grade academic success grew by leaps and bounds. We did three musical theater productions and students got to enjoy Finn - the on-site emotional support dog! Outside of their traditional academic studies, students participated in weekly piano lessons, STEM + Art+ STEAM time, PE, Ecology, Spanish, Theater and more… MVS is so thankful for the support of the entire community. We are surrounded by families who care about their child's educational journey...we have neighbors that don't mind kids playing on the playground...we have a board and a city council who supports our growth and cheers us to success.”
A student parent for MVS said, “It feels like a very big year of growth, for the school and also for my children. I'm really amazed and proud of all they've accomplished academically socially and emotionally. Some of the biggest highlights this year was watching both of my children embrace theater and reap the benefits in confidence, cooperation, teamwork and creativity.
“As I'd hoped, my Kindergartener is reading, but what has surprised me is how excited she is to go to school each day. She feels secure and has even eagerly performed in two school plays. I've seen how this confidence spills over into life outside of school too.
"My third grader is thriving as well. MVS gives him the opportunity to spend a good portion of his day outside where he's happiest while also creating a warm and nurturing environment in the classroom.”
She added, “When I visit the school, I see happy, engaged students. I believe this is the result of happy, engaged teachers, staff and leadership. They truly understand and respect that children are unique individuals and have created a safe, nurturing environment for them to learn, grow and express themselves.
"My third grader would happily spend all day in the school forest. But his teacher has made the classroom a stimulating place for him to be as well. I've loved watching him explore poetry, express his opinions on history and become someone who loves to read.”
According to MVS teacher Abby Brown, “In typical fashion as years gone by, the Marine community has supported the efforts of educators to nurture children as they grow. The elementary building, now owned by the Village, continues to provide a safe learning environment with high expectations for academics and behavior.”
This is Brown’s 30th year in the building. “There have been vast changes in education since 1988 but the essence of what MVS offers is essentially the same. This school quickly settled into a productive first year. Coming out of retirement for it's start has been healing after the site was shuttered five years ago," she said.
"Now there are children with parents who once attended Marine in these classrooms. The Marine community is thriving as young families move in and there is a small neighborhood school for their children to attend. For all the right reasons, MVS continues to bring pride to residents.”
MVS is having a Cinco De Mayo carnival Friday, May 5. They will be selling taco dinners as a fundraiser.
Saturday, May 6, MVS will be hosting an Open House from 10 a.m. to noon for interested families to come tour, chat with the principal and ask questions about the curriculum. According to Kokx, “Lower grades are closing soon, so register quickly!”
Starting in June, MVS is cosponsoring (with Marine Library) two science camps. In July, MVS Performing Arts Camp will be performing Little Mermaid Jr. Any student (MVS or not) ages four to 14 are welcome to attend.
For more information visit www.marinevillageschool.org
Or call (651) 477-0380
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